When To Plant Dahlias

Dahlia Tuber Families

Weather makes the final decision here for the, “When to plant date,” at our board meetings. Other members present, myself, coffee and Dahlia tubers who outnumber the days in a year many times over. Weather is our friend at this time of year and remember, a good friend is a good listener. I am going to be the good friend.

I have wide-open fields here so planting is after the last frost date and also when the soil is dry enough. I can hardly believe that this year those two requirements line up on Memorial Day weekend. Gasp. Last night it rained and dipped to 40 F degrees and today it is to reach 80 F. My friend, Weather, should be keeping evening temperatures above 50 F. now. Thank you and I will not take my eyes off of you.

Can I have a word with you about the last frost dates? My last frost date is May 15th. Many years it’s usually around April 15th, but since modern record keeping, the latest recorded frost date was May 15th. This year was almost identical because in May we’ve had four frosts. Lilac buds froze. Solid. Iris buds froze. Wisteria buds froze. Hydrangea, Smoke Bush, English Boxwood and other shrubs with tender new growth got hit hard.

If Dahlia tubers are planted deep enough in the ground, five to six inches, a little frost won’t bother them if there isn’t any top-green growth yet. The soil insulates them. The killer can be when the soil is too wet, for too long, and too cold. Good drainage is essential for Dahlias. Add warm weather as well the essential list. Healthy soil.

This year has been unusual in many ways to say the least, but my love of Dahlias holds strong.

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